By: Judith Hargett
It was a very annoying sound. Not the most annoying; that’s reserved for the whine of a mosquito that sets up camp next to your ear right after you turn the light out at bedtime. No. This noise usually came in the middle of the night. It seemed to be reserved for my ears alone as husband never heard it. It was a gnawing noise, and it sounded like it was coming from the bedroom floor vent. I imagined a family of mice having their midnight snack just a few quick steps away…and you can’t imagine how quick those steps truly would be should my foot come down on a fuzzy little head. But removing the vent cover revealed no sign of mouse habitation. Husband, in an effort to appease me, removed the cover from each floor vent in the house and did a thorough examination revealing not even a reclusive spider. Clearly we had an infestation of poltergeist mice, or poltermice as I began referring to them.
Our home is built into what was once a tree-covered hill. Thick woods still rise up behind it. We invaded territory that was occupied for many years by native wildlife. It is not unexpected that they occasionally return to see what the new residents might have to offer in the form of hospitality. Admittedly, they are not always welcomed equally. Though we put out food and water for the birds, we’re not as generous toward squirrels and raccoons. Much like grown human children who should be out making their own living, they don’t see why they should be excluded from free food and usually ignore our fussing and fist shaking. Again, much like grown human children. Eventually a live trap is put in place after animal predations go too far. A recent occupant of the trap was a possum. (Opossum if they’re of Irish descent.) Husband likes possums and typically doesn’t consider them a pest and therefore not needful of the standard relocation program. So he opened the door to give possum his freedom, but wary possum just stayed where he was not realizing freedom was his for the taking.
Our world is filled with people like that possum who don’t realize that eternal freedom as well as earthly provision are easily within their reach. It is the responsibility of each Christ follower to share the good news about freedom that is recorded in God’s Word. The Gospels are filled with this good news and of course The Great Commission charging us with this duty (see Matthew 28:19-20) comes to mind. Look also in the Old Testament at Psalm 146:7 for a fine verse: “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry, the Lord sets prisoners free.” What encouraging words!
Now back to our possum captive. Husband left the cage door propped open so the homely marsupial could leave at his leisure, which he finally did. But what about our poltermice? What was he going to do about those vermin? (Some of you might think mice are cute and even harbor them as pets, but the Lord declared them unclean in Leviticus 11:29 and I think there is good reason to believe they should be avoided like the plague…because indeed they have been known to cause a plague.) Having determined that no mice were actually in the house, husband took his search outside. He soon discovered where the beady eyed, whiskered pests had chewed the covering off a drainpipe that runs beneath the house. This apparently offered access to a cool dark place close to the bedroom window where their evenings could be spent away from the piercing eyes of owls or the deadly pounce of one of the feral cats that roam these hills. The opening to their luxury quarters was soon cut off. So far, no more noises from the poltermice. The nights are once again quiet. But I tell you the sound I would like to hear in the middle of the night: the Lord’s trumpet we read about in I Corinthians 15:52: “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” Yet, when that happens, the door to freedom will be closed and the unsaved, like our trapped possum, won’t even realize it.